I’m embarrassed to admit I’m not much of a cinephile. Despite being an art lover, I think I watch a total of 10 movies a year. All around me, my movie-fanatic friends have been anticipating the Toronto International Film Festival, while I’ve sat immobilized by the responsibility of covering an event that means so much to so many. 

This TIFF season forced me to immerse myself in the economy of cinema. Attending red carpet events as a member of the press and watching dozens of outlets scramble to ask celebrities questions; watching volunteers with clipboards pace around with headsets; speaking to thoughtful, committed directors; and, of course, reading, researching, and editing the 11 total TIFF film reviews we’re publishing this week — all of these experiences have made me realize there are few industries as passionate as the film industry. 

The feeling of walking down King Street West and feeling the energy of anticipation — from reporters waiting for the next black limo to fans in the rush line — made me understand why storytelling is a billion-dollar industry. Pop culture is not only what Hollywood makes of it, but a sum of moving parts and voices yearning to be heard. 

I’m especially excited about our TIFF coverage in this year’s issue, because U of T student and actress Kudakwashe Rutendo starred in a movie at the festival. See page X for an interview with the rising star! You can also find reviews of potential blockbusters like Dumb Money and a beautiful reflection on iconic French director Agnes Varda. And for those of you who love reading juicy, scathing reviews, check out our articles on Monster and Pain Hustlers

Although the Arts section has done TIFF-themed weeks in the past, this is the first time that we’ve themed an entire issue around the film festival and what it represents. 

We hope you enjoy our first full movie and pop culture-themed special issue!